Near West Side Park First of 11 Planned Sites for New Futsal Courts for Community Use across Indianapolis and the Hoosier State
INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, May 15, 2015) – Indy Eleven Professional Soccer has teamed up with Indiana Soccer – the state’s governing body for youth and adult soccer – and the Indiana Soccer Foundation to introduce the “Futsal for Indiana” program, which will introduce the sport of futsal to underserved Hoosiers. Futsal, a small-sided version of soccer, is played on hard surfaces with a heavier ball and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Rhodius Park is the first of 11 planned sites where Indy Eleven, Indiana Soccer and the Indiana Soccer Foundation will convert underused spaces – mostly basketball and tennis courts – into futsal courts to better serve neighborhoods and local communities. Today marks the opening of an underutilized tennis court at Rhodius Park that has been transformed into a 54-by-100 foot futsal court with a renovated surface, with funding for this initial project provided by a donation from Indy Eleven and a matching grant from the Indiana Soccer Foundation.
The program was unveiled today in conjunction with SCORE, Indy Parks, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Big Car Collaborative and William Penn Elementary School (IPS School 49) with the official opening of the “Futsal for Indiana” project’s flagship court at Rhodius Park, located on Indianapolis’ near west side.
SCORE, a community partner of Indiana Soccer, will aim to provide wellness and education programming through futsal for children at the Rhodius Park court and future locations placed in underserved communities. In addition, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful received assistance from IPS School 49 students to clean up park space surrounding the court and Big Car artists will hand-paint a new mural to help beautify the improved space. Both groups have pledged to embark on similar efforts at future Indianapolis-based Futsal for Indiana sites as they are secured.
Indy Eleven, Indiana Soccer, IPS School 49, SCORE, the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and additional community groups will program the new futsal court at Rhodius Park, which will also be open for general use by the community. The first official on-site event taking place at the court will be the “Union Jack Cup” Supporters 5-v-5 Futsal Tournament, featuring teams representing six different soccer supporters groups next Saturday, May 23, starting at 10:00 a.m.
Today’s court opening at Rhodius Park is just the start of the rapid growth planned for the sport of futsal across the Hoosier State in the coming years. Indiana Soccer will open more doors for the sport via a new partnership with US Futsal, the sport’s national governing body, to facilitate the burgeoning expansion of futsal for both recreational and competitive players of all ages and abilities.
In addition, the Mayor’s Office of the City of Indianapolis will play host to a futsal tournament on Sept. 19 at downtown’s Pan Am Plaza in conjunction with the annual Indianapolis Sister Cities Festival. More details on the tournament, which will feature teams from across Central Indiana representing several international communities, will be unveiled by the Mayor’s Office in the coming months.
Futsal for Indiana Quote Sheet
Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis:
“Indianapolis has been a sports town for nearly a century, and I am pleased to welcome the global sport of futsal to Rhodius Park. I appreciate Indy Eleven's continued support for Indy Parks and continued investment in our community.”
Peter Wilt, Indy Eleven President and General Manager:
“The Futsal for Indiana launch shows what like-minded civic, private and charitable organizations can do when they have a community’s best interests in mind. For Indy Eleven, this is about more than leaving a legacy – it’s about putting our mission statement of ‘Winning championships with and for the community’ into action. We cannot wait to expand into additional neighborhoods across Indy and beyond with the help of Indiana Soccer, the Indiana Soccer Foundation, the City of Indianapolis and our other valued partners.”
Dave Guthrie, Indiana Soccer Executive Director
“Futsal will play a significant role in the future development of Indiana’s youth. Indiana Soccer is honored to be among such formidable contributors to help develop futsal playing opportunities.”
Allen McClendon, Indy Parks Sr. Manager of Community Outreach:
“Indy Parks is proud to collaborate with Indy Eleven and associated partners to promote futsal in Indianapolis. This is yet another example of our city’s expansion of global sports as we embrace a sport popular in South America.”
Paco Espinosa, SCORE Founder and President:
“I am very excited to see the first Futsal for Indiana court project become a reality. This initiative will provide a tremendous opportunity for us to continue providing soccer and educational programming to our members. This will also certainly contribute to satisfy the areas we focus on – body, mind, heart and spirit. We understand the difficulties children have accessing ‘green areas’ in urban communities, and futsal will allow SCORE to bring more and new children to the beautiful game of soccer and the rest of our curriculum. The board of directors cannot be happier to be part of this collaboration and is thankful to Indy Eleven, Indiana Soccer and the Indiana Soccer Foundation for bringing this great concept to fruition.”
Ashlee Wilson Fujawa, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Director of Public Relations
“KIB looks forward to our continued partnership with Indy Eleven, and their amazing supporters. Our mission to help people and nature thrive blends well with Indy Eleven's vision to involve the city at every turn of their success. Providing these recreation amenities to Indy is just one more example of their commitment to the Circle City. We are thrilled to join them in this effort.”
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